The Azzurre shine in Palermo, Girelli and Giugliano goals see off BosniaAn excellent performance from Italy, who win 2-0 and record their fourth EURO 2021 qualifying win. Head Coach Bertolini thanks the crowd: “This support is what we need”
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
In their first outing in Italy after the World Cup in France, Milena Bertolini’s side beat Bosnia 2-0 and displayed what they’re all about, putting on an excellent performance in front of more than 5,000 fans at the Stadio Renzo Barbera. While the Azzurre returned from their away trips to Israel, Georgia and Malta with three points on each occasion, the team’s display in Palermo was more like the side that was seen during the World Cup in France, when millions of fans fell in love with Bertolini’s girls. Goals from Cristiana Girelli, who scored for the fourth consecutive qualifier, and Manuela Giugliano allowed Italy to consolidate their position at the top of Group B and continue their march towards the 2021 European Championship, which will be held in England. The nine group winners and three best second-placed sides will qualify automatically for the tournament.
“I’m happy for the girls,” said Milena Bertolini after the match. They managed to pick up an important win against a tough opponent. I liked our approach. We know that the group is difficult, but other wins will come if we play like this.” The Head Coach then thanked the fans, who gave the team their backing from the first until the last minute: “Palermo was fantastic, we need support like this. The girls played well also thanks to the crowd’s backing.”
THE MATCH – Guagni, Linari and Girelli returned to the starting line-up, with the latter having made a decisive contribution after coming on in the second half against Malta on Friday in Ta‘ Qali. Martina Rosucci was also selected from the start, while Valentina Giacinti partnered Girelli up front. With the crowd pushing them on, Italy started strongly and came close to scoring in the third minute through Giugliano, whose shot was too weak to beat Haracic after she’d been played in by Giacinti.
However, the Azzurre didn’t have to wait much longer to break the deadlock: just seconds later, Rosucci found Girelli in the box, with the latter escaping Krso’s attentions and putting the ball through the goalkeeper’s legs to score her fourth of the qualifying campaign. The Juventus striker has netted in all four of Italy’s group games so far. Compared to their previous matches, the Azzurre were playing in a more decisive fashion, determined to kill off the match as quickly as possible. The game was being played in just one half of the pitch, with Italy also having two penalty appeals waved away. With 28 minutes on the clock, the Azzurre doubled their lead: Giugliano got on the end of Galli’s ball and fired home with her right foot to make it 2-0. Following this, Haracic kept out Girelli’s header as Italy pushed for a third.
It was much the same story in the second half, with Bertolini’s girls remaining on the attack. Two minutes in, Giugliano fired just wide following great combination play between Girelli and Giacinti. In the 63rd minute, Bosnia won their first corner of the match – proof of Bosnia’s dominance. The only sour note was the injury to Manuela Giugliano, who was replaced by Daniela Sabatino. Something else to be noted is Giada Greggi’s debut: the 19-year-old Roma midfielder is one of the biggest prospects in Italian football. As the match was coming to a close, Stefania Tarenzi, who had come on in Giacinti’s place, struck the bar with a header. Italy were then applauded off the pitch after the full-time whistle. The Azzurre will carry on their journey towards the European Championship with two home matches against Georgia and Malta on 8 and 12 November in Benevento and Castel di Sangro respectively.
ITALY 2-0 BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Goals: 3’ Girelli (I), 28’ Giugliano (I)
ITALY: Giuliani; Guagni, Gama, Linari, Bartoli; Cernoia, Giugliano (64’ Sabatino), Galli, Rosucci (79’ Greggi); Girelli, Giacinti (85’ Tarenzi). Substitutes: Durante, Bergamaschi, Marinelli, Serturini, Fusetti, Boattin, Glionna, Tucceri Cimini, Aprile. Head Coach: Milena Bertolini.
BOSNIA: Haracic; Dijakovic, Nikolic, Hasanbergovic, Krso; Spahic, Aleksic, Ahmic (46’ Vujadin); Kapetanovic (81’ Grebenar), Spasojevic, Hamzic (61’ Damjanovic). Substitutes: Hodzic, Hasanbegovic, Sakotic, Bektas, Gacanica, Koprena, Masinovic, Milovic. Head Coach: Samira Huren.
Referee: Hristiyana Guteva (BUL), Assistants: Ekaterina Marinova (BUL) and Pavleta Rashkova (BUL). Fourth official: Kristina Georgieva (BUL).
Notes: Attendance 5100. Sent off: Krso (B) 89’.